·  Media Release   ·  

Steelworkers Hail Ottawa Decision to Stop the Killing and Enforce the Law

OTTAWA – United Steelworkers (USW) National Director Ken Neumann has welcomed Wednesday’s unanimous vote by the City of Ottawa to call for better enforcement of 2004 amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, which hold corporate directors and executives criminally accountable for workplace death and injury.

“To have Canada’s capital city mayor and councillors fully on board with our campaign, which we have taken to municipalities across the country, is a tremendous step forward in seeking justice for the nearly 1,000 workers killed annually,” said Neumann. “Families are literally sick of seeing their loved ones die because of corporate decisions that create fatally unsafe workplaces. Our union has heard testimony from many of them since we fought to have the amendments enacted into law in the first place.”

For several years following the Westray mine disaster in 1992, members of the USW lobbied for the Criminal Code amendments, known collectively as the Westray Law.

USW Ontario/Atlantic Director Marty Warren added that, while only a handful of charges and convictions have taken place since the law was enacted in 2004, workers continue to be killed or maimed in workplace incidents that are too often not investigated fully.

“The provinces are responsible for enforcing the Criminal Code and they are simply not doing their job,” Warren said. “Attorneys-general must direct law enforcement and prosecutors to stop the killing by enforcing the law and thereby making employers understand that killing workers must never be a cost of doing business in Canada. Thank you, Ottawa, for making this your priority too.”

Warren also thanked Ottawa and District Labour Council President Sean McKenny for his help in bringing the motion to Ottawa City Council.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, mwarren@usw.ca, 416-243-8792
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Sylvia Boyce, USW Ontario and Atlantic Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator, ‪
905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca

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